Axminster Carpets rescued by a consortium of local investors

Kasmira Jefford
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HISTORIC carpet firm Axminster was saved from the brink of collapse this weekend by a consortium of local business people.

The Devon-based manufacturer, which has woven carpets and rugs for Britain’s stately homes since the 18th century was rescued on Saturday by a group of local businessmen for an undisclosed amount.

Around 100 jobs have been saved but 300 staff were made redundant last month. The firm’s factory and two outlets in Axminster and Buckfast will also continue to run, administrators Duff & Phelps said in a statement on Saturday.

The consortium is being led by Stephen Boyd, the chairman of leather supplier Pittards and Joshua Dutfield, Axminster’s former managing director, whose grandfather Harry Dutfield resurrected the business in 1937.

Dutfield, who will continue to lead the newly formed Axminster Carpets 2013 said: “We have been truly overwhelmed by the support received from the residents of the town of Axminster in our endeavours to secure the future of the business.”

The company was founded in Axminster in 1755 by weaver Thomas Whitty, who was inspired by the Turkish style of making carpets. His carpets could be found in Chatsworth House and Brighton Pavilion and were bought by King George III and Queen Charlotte, who visited the factory.

Its current clients include high street retailers John Lewis and Carpetright as well as airlines such as British Airways.